A HARD-working South Tyneside councillor feared she would die after contracting pneumonia – and now she is urging others to put their health first.
Coun Joyce Welsh blames her long working hours and a failure to eat properly for her immune system failing.
Now she is learning to take it a little easier at her home in Green Lane, South Shields, as she looks to make a full recovery.
Before being diagnosed at the end of August, Coun Welsh, 61, had been through a whirlwind year.
In July, her year as the first female president of Cleadon and District Rotary Club came to an end and during that time she helped raise £15,000 for local charities.
In addition to representing Labour in South Tyneside Council’s West Park ward she also spent many hours on the campaign trail to ensure the election of South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck earlier this year.
She is also the treasurer of South Shields Constituency Labour Party.
Coun Welsh, formerly a cook at Winterbottom Hall in South Shields, said: “I was out every day handing out leaflets and then going to Ede House to input election data.
“At the same time, I was going on visits with the Rotary Club.
“I was hardly ever in and was not eating properly.
“I lost tons of weight, and my immune system died on me.
“At one stage, I was coughing incessantly for 11 days. I thought I was going to die. I’ve never been so frightened in all my life.”
Now she is determined to change her ways.
She added: “I am eating healthy foods and trying to get my appetite back.
“Before, I would always say yes when I was asked to do anything, now I have to think about my health.
“I realise now I was slowly killing myself.
“I’d ask anyone who is overdoing things to think twice before doing so.
“Your health has to come first. I’ve learned my lesson.”